When you need to re-shingle a roof, you want the right tool on your side.
If you have ever tried using a pitchfork to remove shingles, you know that the job can get a little messy, and you’ll end up chasing unremoved nails all day with your claw hammer.
A shingle shovel is a better choice for this kind of work.
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What makes a shingle shovel better, and what one is the best choice?
Today we will talk about shingle shovels to help you understand why they are much better suited for removing those old roof shingles, and we’ll review a few popular shingle shovels from some names that you already know and trust.
What is a shingle shovel?
A shingle shovel is also called a ‘shingle remover,’ ‘tear off’ shovel or spade.
Shingle shovels are long-handled tools that typically have a broad, flat head for getting under the shingle.
The shovel also has serrated teeth for gripping nails to be removed or, in some cases, sheared off.
It’s a practical design that roofer’s use all the time for clearing out old shingles quickly so that they can put in a set of new ones.
How to use a shingle shovel
Once you have the ridge caps removed from the roof, using a shingle shovel is a breeze as long as the roof is uniform and does not have an odd shape.
Place the shingle shovel under the lower edge of some shingles, and once you apply a little leverage, the loosened shingles should come right up.
Take care to ensure the shingles have been removed but that you have also removed all of the nails.
Repeat the process, disposing of the shingles and nails safely, until the roof deck is cleared.
Be sure to re-shingle as soon as the cleared area is ready to reduce any chances of weather or other damage occurring.
Qualities of a good shingle shovel
A good shingle shovel should have the following three essential qualities:
- Solid handle and grip for good leverage
- A strong blade that can grip nails and handle the weight of the shingles
- A wide-head that will distribute the shingle weight efficiently.
Our top 3 shingle shovel picks
Our top 3 picks for a shingle shovel are
Malco Sb48 Shingle Remover
Bully 9110 Fiberglass D grip Shingle Remover
- Bon Tool 19-115 Roofers Tear Off Spade
Below is a detailed look at the pros and cons of each.
Shingle Shovel Picks Review
1. Malco Sb48 Shingle Remover
From Malco’s ‘Beast’ line of shingle removers, we have the SB48, designed to remove nails and lift unwanted shingles in a single, strong pull. Let’s see how it rates with actual use.
Specifications and features:
- Durable 48″ steel handle
- 10 gauge steel blade
- Fixed pitch allows for versatility
- Long teeth that are coupled with a set of shorter ones for getting under shingles and effectively trapping nails
- Dimensions: 48.5″ x 9″ x 4.25″
- Weight: 6.6 pounds
This ‘shingle shovel’ is indeed a bit of a Beast, cutting into the mass of shingles when you push it under and ripping them out with a good, solid yank on the handle.
The heft and feel of the tool lets you know right away that this is not something that will need replacing soon.
It is slightly on the weighty side, which may tire you out quicker than usual from the unneeded extra weight.
However, there is an SB48ae model with a fiberglass handle if you wish to go a little lighter.
2. Bully 9110 Fiberglass D grip Shingle Remover
Bully brings their own ‘beast’ to the table with their ProShingle Commercial-grade Bully 91110 Fiberglass D grip model. Let’s see how it tested in actual use.
Specifications and features:
- Made in the USA
- Triple-wall reinforced fiberglass handle.
- Thick 10 gauge steelhead
- Lifetime warranty (limited)
- Wide, serrated teeth can rip through nails.
- Dimensions: 48″ x 9″ x 4.5″
- Weight: 5.80 pounds
With the close, edged teeth this stripping shingles down to the sheath quite a bit easier when you add a little elbow grease.
You could also use this tool to rip up carpets.
The D grips also make it easier to keep a good hold and push the tool in at the angles you need.
The construction of this roof shovel is solid and built to last, and this feels and performs commercial-grade, as-advertised.
It is not as good at removing nails that were left behind when you’ve scooped up a mass of shingles.
Nail removal is essential, and this can be a little frustrating for the casual user on a smaller project, but for larger projects, you can get a lot done quickly.
3. Bon Tool 19-115 Roofers Tear Off Spade
Our final shingle shovel is the Bon Tool 19-115 Tear Off Spade, and it comes from a name that you trust.
Since 1958 Bon Tool has been delivering excellent tools that are well-made and do their jobs well.
Specifications and features:
- Steelhead with serrated teeth for gripping nails
- Tough 48″ wooden handle
- Strong fixed fulcrum for added leverage
- 1-year manufacturers warranty
- Dimensions: 60.0″ x 7.5″ x 3.0″
- Weight: 5.76 pounds
We like the old-school feel that you get from a durable wooden handle with a steelhead.
The leverage provided with the Bon 19-115 is superb and lets you get in there to catch the nails, pull, and lift.
This roofing shovel was also the lightest of the tools reviewed today.
We didn’t have any qualms with this model.
The Bon 19-115 tears into and removes the shingles without a whole lot of fuss.
The wooden handle will not last as long as steel or fiberglass, but we certainly can’t complain about how it performed.
Getting the right tool for the job
As you can see, a pitchfork certainly is not a replacement for a good shingle shovel.
While you might have to make a trip to the hardware store, it will take less time than the cleanup that you’ll have to do after removing shingles with a pitchfork or even a regular old shovel.
It’s better to start with the right tool, and if you choose a quality model, then you’ll have it when you need it for a good, long time.